Review: Brockhampton interrupts its own rambunctious performance for an extended Q&A with fans at Portland’s Crystal Ballroom

Kevin Abstract performing at the WOW Hall with the rest of his band Brockhampton in March, 2018 (Daily Emerald)

Kevin Abstract, the founder of Brockhampton, is back with his third solo studio album, “Arizona Baby.” The new album offers an inside look into what the rapper is currently going through, which contrasts the musings he rapped about in his 2016 album, “American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story.” The fear of feeling like a disappointment, relationship issues and dealing with the anxieties that come with fame and success are recurring themes that come up in the multi-genre album. Abstract switches between elements of hip-hop, rap, pop and soft rock take place on the 11-track offering.

The day after “Arizona Baby,” was released, the rapper tweeted that he would be walking on a treadmill for 10 hours straight in front of his childhood home in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Brockhampton Street. On April 26, Abstract spent the 10 hours signing autographs and merch for fans while walking, as well as having genuine conversations with those who stuck around to watch his feat. By the end of the 10 hours, fans were singing together and offering words of encouragement to help the visibly exhausted rapper to his triumphant finish. Abstract live streamed the entire 10-hour ordeal, which can be watched on YouTube.

Standout tracks “Baby Boy,” “Georgia” and “Peach” showcase some of Abstract’s best work. The lovesick track “Baby Boy” includes a catchy, infectious chorus sang by frequent Brockhampton collaborator Ryan Beatty and details the heartache of complicated relationships with someone you deeply care about. The chorus, “At this point you're pretty much out of my mind / But when I close my eyes I think about you every time,” perfectly exemplifies feelings of longing many can relate to.

“Georgia” lays out Abstract’s insecurities regarding how he sees himself, his experience as an openly gay man and how his actions and struggles with fame impact those around him. He raps, “I left my troubled home, Hollywood, what the fuck am I doing? / I finally found peace, I suck when I get it / I've seen worse in myself, I won't run away again.”

“Peach” is a slow, hazy track that features rapper Dominic Fike and fellow Brockhampton members Joba and Bearface. Fike’s contribution includes a dreamy, memorable chorus while Abstract contemplates a past relationship over a breezy, calming beat. “Peach” was produced by Brockhampton members Romil Hemnani and Jabari Manwa, as well as Jack Antonoff, known for his work with Bleachers and Taylor Swift.

Abstract released music videos for the tracks “Peach,” “Baby Boy,” “Georgia” and “Big Wheels.” The music video for “Peach” perfectly matches the mood of the carefree, summery track, complete with mesmerizing shots of the featured artists driving around during sunset with the day fading behind them.

The rapper changes up his style throughout the tracks on “Arizona Baby” but stays consistent by openly speaking his mind and being completely transparent with listeners about how he’s feeling. Although Abstract’s success with Brockhampton is widely adored by fans, his solo work gives listeners a chance to see him face his personal demons head-on, while also curating a memorable sonic experience.

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